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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > European Tour > BMW Asian Open > Round 4


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Darren Clarke snatches win with 72nd hole birdie

Darren Clarke set his sights on re-joining Europe’s Ryder Cup team after emerging from months in the wilderness with an emotionally-charged victory at the Asian Open on Sunday.

The 39-year-old Northern Irishman ended a five-year European Tour victory drought when he won the tournament at the Tomson Golf Club in Shanghai by one stroke from Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen.

Clarke, who lost his wife Heather in 2006 after a long battle with cancer and is ranked 236 having once been as high as ninth, declared himself re-invigorated.

“If anything, my win today has given me renewed vigour to carry on and keep working, because I want more of this,” Clarke told reporters.

“My focus is to keep playing golf as much as I can and I do desperately want to be at Valhalla so we will see,” said Clarke, whose last win came in Japan at the Taiheyo Masters in 2005.

Europe travel to the U.S. in September to defend the Ryder Cup at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Clarke, whose record includes 11 European titles and a 2000 WGC-Accenture Match Play final victory over world number one Tiger Woods, helped Europe to an emotional victory weeks after his wife’s death at the Ryder Cup in Ireland in September 2006.

There have been few other highlights in a year-and-a-half recovery.

A long battle to find form saw Clarke changing shafts in his irons and hiring biomechanics experts in a bid to cure wobbly putting on the greens. But making the cut still proved elusive.

It had been frustrating, Clarke said.

“It is like anybody’s job where if you work and work and work on it but don’t see any tangible results it gets very difficult. That’s what has happened to me. I have been working away and not seeing the results.”

After finding it hard to watch the U.S. Masters and other invitational events on television, Clarke said: “I have spent a long period of time in that top 50 and I have dropped out of that list for obvious reasons.

“I am not used to sitting out and watching these events. The reason I practice and play and put in the time is so I can compete at the top level and I want to be back in the top 50 again.”


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